PU Senate polls on Sep 21
Chandigarh, September 18
Elections observers say based on past experience total percentage of voting from this constituency is not going to be more than 35 per cent.
The constituency is spread over states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Delhi and areas of Rajasthan and Uttaranchal where more than 250 polling booths will be set up. The voter will have to come with one or the other identity proof.
Those contesting again from this constituency are Malwinder Singh Kang, Prabhjit Singh, Ravinder Kumar, Rabindernath Sharma, Dharinder Tayal, Praveen Kumar, Anu Chatrath and others. Other sitting Senators contesting from this constituency for the first time includes Jarnail Singh, Sukhdev Singh Hundal, Jagpal Singh.
Besides some new entrants, including Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, S. C. Gupta and others are also in fray.
One of the prominent Senators Ashok Goyal ,who had been contesting since 1992, is not contesting this time from graduates’ constituency.
He has already been elected from the combined faculties after defeating Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, election for which were held on August 27.
Goyal’s victory is being seen as one of the most significant win in the university circles, as he dethroned Deepak Manmohan, who was considered to be a formidable opponent and had been on the university Senate for 32 years.
From among the principals’ constituency, prominent candidates in fray include Gurdip Sharma, Janmeet Singh, Tejinder Kaur, A. C. Vaid and B. C. Josan.
From the teachers of affiliated colleges constituency Dinesh Talwar, Mukesh Arora, R. P. S. Josh, Rupinder Chatha, P. S. Gill, Dalip Singh and A. R. Prashar among others are in the fray.
Women’s panel sans chairperson, members
Chandigarh, September 18
The 10-member commission, almost defunct, has one IAS officer as the member secretary and the Punjab DGP and director, social security, Punjab, as the ex-officio members. Of the six women members, five have ended their three-year term and the last one retires tomorrow.
Chairperson Parminder Kaur left the commission in April 2007 and since then it seems to have not occurred to the government in the state that this statutory body of the state cannot function without a chairperson and members.
The only person on the commission is member- secretary Sarvesh Kaushal who is holding fort till the members join and the commission starts functioning.
Sources say the commission receives over eight to 10 complaints a day, which
Other than forwarding of the complaints, the commission undertakes reconciliation cases in which the involved parties are given an opportunity to compromise after a series of counselling sessions.
In the absence of any woman member on the commission, there is no scope for reconciliation. As a result the commission at best functions like a post office where almost all complaints received are simply sent to the departments concerned.
Sources add sans a wom in the office of the commission it is difficult to handle the complainants. Women come to the office with relatives and panchayat members and find no woman to share their tale of woes with.
The commission here has three staff members and budget of the commission is Rs 40 lakh. The commission has not been able to hold gender sensitisation workshops or training programmes for the police and other field workers in many years.
Two Lashkar activists in jail keep police on its toes
Gurdaspur, September 18
A tug of war between the Lashkar-e-Tiba and the police was on in this district after Shakar Ulla Khan and his associate Abdul Hamid Bagga’s arrest by then SP, Pathankot Manminder Singh and sub-inspector, Sulakhan Singh in September 2004 along with arms, ammunition and explosive, which included 15 kg RDX ,two AK-56 rifles, six magazines of AK-56 rifles, 170 cartridges of AK-56 rifles, 13 China-made .30 bore pistols with 325 cartridges, three time bombs, two HE 36 hand grenades, two grenade pins with fuse, seven battery bombs, five time pencils, two time devices, one mask for underwater use and Rs 1.38 lakh in fake Indian currency.
The police had rewarded the police team, which arrested Khan, Bagga and three Punjab -based terrorists.
Top LeT leadership reportedly had been making efforts to get Khan and Bagga freed since their arrest. Khan and Bagga had figured in the blasts, triggered by Khalistan Zindabad Force activists.
The LeT tried to provide a cell phone to Khan into the jail a few months ago for contact with him.
The phone was concealed into a packet of energy food. However, the cell phone was detected and caught by the jail authorities before it could reach him.
The LeT again tried to get him freed while he was being taken to court. Khan had entered India from Jammu and Kashmir with help of Ranjit Singh Neeta, head , KZF and now living in Pakistan.
A message was intercepted intelligence agency Khan and Bagga might escape from the jail to kill Sulakhan Singh, police official, who arrested him. Sulakhan Singh was given special security after this input.
Sources said bids by the LeT to get Khan and Bagga freed were on, but the police and other agencies had been watchful about it
The agencies came to know while in jail Khan developed links with those with terrorist back ground.
Lok Nath Angra, SSP, says, "Input with us indicates the LeT has been planning have them released when they are taken to court. Once the LeT planned to get Khan freed from jail by taking him to hospital on the pretext of treatment at Amritsar."
" LeT can do anythin to get Khan and Bagga freed from jail hence we have sensitised the jail authorities and the field force," he said.
Some police officials talked to, said the LeT could also kidnap an important figure to get Khan freed in exchange by bargaining.
They said agencies concerned should also probe how Khan arranges best brains to defend him in court.
Special courts for power theft cases
Jalandhar, September 18 The court of the additional district and sessions judge will be designated at each district headquarters for the trial of power theft cases. Sources said the Power Department had sent the file to the Home Department to issue the notification designating the courts for such cases. As in majority of the cases, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) imposes heavy penalty for power theft, these are often challenged in court. Having special courts for this purpose will expedite decisions in such cases. Earlier, the government had approved special police stations in five major cities of the state to register power theft cases. Power worth Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore is stolen every year in Punjab.
Jalandhar, September 18
The court of the additional district and sessions judge will be designated at each district headquarters for the trial of power theft cases.
Sources said the Power Department had sent the file to the Home Department to issue the notification designating the courts for such cases.
As in majority of the cases, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) imposes heavy penalty for power theft, these are often challenged in court. Having special courts for this purpose will expedite decisions in such cases.
Earlier, the government had approved special police stations in five major cities of the state to register power theft cases.
Power worth Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore is stolen every year in Punjab.
Rahul’s visit: A step to reconnect with people of state
Sarbjit Dhaliwal & Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, September 18
Rahul, who is all for eliminating the system of making appointments of office-bearers in various wings of the organisation through nominations, will inaugurate in the state a countrywide drive to enrol members and elect office-bearers of the Youth Congress through a transparent system.
Office-bearers of the Youth Congress will be decided through election. The young general secretary of the AICC has engaged K.J. Rao, former adviser to the Election Commission, to conduct the elections of the Youth Congress.
He has made it mandatory that only those aspirants who fall in the age bracket of 18 and 35 years can become members and office-bearers of the Youth Congress.
Each youth, who will be enrolled as a member, will be issued a photo identity card for the elections.
In the first stage, elections will be held at the block level. Any number of members can contest the election for the post of block president.
The candidate getting the maximum votes will be elected block president and the next top three candidates will be declared vice-presidents.
Besides them, six delegates will be elected in a block. The state has 211 blocks and 24 party district units.
Block office-bearers and delegates will then elect district president. Each district will elect one delegate to elect state president.
Besides district-level delegate, six delegates elected at the block level and presidents of each block will be part of the electoral college that will be eligible to take part in the process to elect state president.
Block presidents, district president and all delegates will be eligible to contest the election to the post of state president.
The visit of Rahul Gandhi to the state from September 22 is being seen as a strategic move by the family to “reconnect” with the people who have been nursing deep psychological scars in the aftermath of the unfortunate incidents of 1984.
Rahul will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple either on the evening of September 23 or the next morning.
That the party has lost ground as a national party is also one the factors that Punjab has been chosen to launch the pilot membership drive project of the Youth Congress, a brainchild of Rahul.
Gandhi Junior was reportedly keen that the “dynamic people of Punjab were ideally suited for the project”.
Rahul will interact with sportspersons at Kharar on September 22 besides addressing youngsters at Patiala the same day.
A state-level youth rally will be held in Bhatinda on September 23 with a women convention scheduled at Gurdaspur later that day, he added.
SAD-BJP rift widens
Amritsar, September 18
Meanwhile, various corporation unions came in support of the SAD and laid a siege to the office of Shavet Malik, BJP’s Mayor.
They served on Malik a 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw the tenders or face an indefinite strike from Monday.
Talking to The Tribune, Ajaybir Singh Randhawa, senior deputy mayor, said his party would seek the information about difference in the rates quoted by both private firms that had been allotted tenders and the unsuccessful firms.
In their fax messages, the Akali councillors have alleged that the agenda of the finance and contract committee of the corporation was not sent to them, which was against the “coalition dharma”.
They were shocked to learn when the matter of solid waste management came up in the meeting. Describing the clearance to the contract a “big scam”, the SAD councillors alleged that “there are serious technical and financial lapses because nothing was explained to them”.
Meanwhile, Malik said all employees were like family members and they would continue to work in the corporation.
He said the city would be divided into two segments and cleanliness in the one part would be done in traditional way while the other would be cleaned with machines.
Unemployed ETT teachers accuse SAD of false promises
Chandigarh, September 18
The representatives of the ETT Teachers Union, Punjab, today announced that they would conduct road shows across Punjab with projectors installed on trucks.
The vehicles would be taken to every corner of the state to expose the “false promises” made by the SAD before the elections to garner votes. They would launch their agitations from Jalandhar on October 2.
The compact disc contains video clippings of announcements made by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal, stating that they would give jobs to the unemployed ETT teachers in Punjab in the first six months of their coming to power.
Not only this, Sukhbir Badal flayed then Punjab government led by Capt Amarinder Singh for committing atrocities on the agitating teachers struggling for their rights.
He also announced that after coming to power, the SAD government would appoint all teachers on regular basis to provide them a sense of job security.
Besides this, the CD shows that the then opposition leaders promised to bring the schools being run by the zila parishads under the aegis of the education department, including the filling up of vacant posts in the schools.
Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, the president of the union told the Tribune that they would intensify their stir in the coming days and would show the video clippings in villages.
Later in the day, in a dramatic turn of events, the Chandigarh police swooped down on the agitating teachers when they were coming out of a restaurant in Sector 35 after showing the video.
The key leaders of the union managed to give a slip to the police, who, however, arrested four members of the union.
A scene was created in the market with people watching the police bundling the leaders into their vehicles and rushing out from there.
The four arrested members have been identified as Jaswinder Bargadi, Jagseer Sahota, Sukhdev Bal and Kulwinder Singh.
The police said a case was registered against the members of the union when they trespassed into the office of the SAD in Sector 28 a few days ago.
Reacting to the police action, Paramjit Singh Mann, president of the Ludhiana unit of the union, told TNS that they would burn effigy of the state government in Ludhiana on September 20 as a mark of their protest against the arrest of their members.
6,000 engg seats vacant; govt blamed
Chandigarh, September 18
Private engineering and technical colleges’ managements yesterday blamed Punjab Technical University (PTU) and the Technical Education Department for weak response to admissions.
They said all pleas to the principal secretary, technical education, Tejinder Kaur, who was also vice-chancellor of the PTU, to have only one counselling or have online counselling had gone unheeded.
Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association (PUTIA) president J.S. Dhaliwal said association members, who ran 150 colleges in the state, had suffered Rs 188 crore loss.
The association had been requesting since last year to hold only one counselling session and not two proposed by the Technical Education Department.
The association lamented unaided colleges constituting 96 per cent of all technical institutions in the state did not have representation on the Board of Governors of the PTU or the State Board of Technical Education.
Principal secretary Tejinder Kaur said the government was keen on online counselling this year but the PTU envisaged logistic problems.
On the second counselling she said this had been done to in view of students applying to a number of institutions.
She said if only one counselling had been conducted, then all leftover seats would have been transferred to the management quota of the private institutions.
She said students and their parents had threatened to move court if only one counselling session was held.
No case pending against me: Officer
Chandigarh, September 18 In a statement issued here today, Grewal said the case involving the alleged felling of 90,000 trees in the Nurpur Bedi range of the Ropar forest division had been filed after a government inquiry. A departmental charge sheet against him had also been filed in 2007. He had been given a clean chit by the CBI in another inquiry, he added. The conservator said all these cases conclusively proved that he had been victimised and harassed by certain vested interests. He said during his posting as DFO at various stations, he had achieved the
Chandigarh, September 18
In a statement issued here today, Grewal said the case involving the alleged felling of 90,000 trees in the Nurpur Bedi range of the Ropar forest division had been filed after a government inquiry.
A departmental charge sheet against him had also been filed in 2007. He had been given a clean chit by the CBI in another inquiry, he added.
The conservator said all these cases conclusively proved that he had been victimised and harassed by certain vested interests.
He said during his posting as DFO at various stations, he had achieved the
Punjab School Education Board
Mohali, September 18
To be implemented for the students of 10+2 from the next academic year, the examination and admission fee would be increased.
“Since the decision involves more expenditure in conduct of the examination, the fee hike is imminent. But the students would have the benefit of studying in two parts,” said a senior board official.
While introducing the semester system, the board has decided to discontinue allowing private candidates to appear in the board examination and instead appear through the open school.
The decision would mean more financial burden on the private students who would have to pay more fee for the open school exams.
However, this decision to bar private students was likely to be reviewed by the state government.
The semester system would control the dropout rate in the government schools, believe officials. After seeing the success of the experiment, the semester system would be extended to matric examination conducted by the board.
Giving details, an official said the semester would be divided into two parts.
The first part woud start from April 1 to September 30 and the second part would start from October 1 to March 31.
While, 40 per cent of the syllabus would be covered in the first semester, the remaining 60 per cent would be covered in the second semester.
The internal assessment would also form part of the semester system.
To help out the students, the board has decided not to make any major changes
The academic branch of the board would divide the syllabus for each semester.
In each semester, the question paper of each subject would be of 50 marks, including 10 marks for internal assessment.
To ensure that there is no break in the studies, it has been decided that admission to second semester would be done without waiting for result of first semester.
However, the students would have to earn a minimum of 33 per cent marks each in written and practical exams.
Candidates, who fail to qualify in board exams, would have to reappear through the open school.
Those failing in compulsory and elective subjects, would be allowed to reappear in the same academic year.
Jatha crosses over to Pak
Amritsar, September 18 Vichhoa said the jatha would reach Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, today and then proceed to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib where akhand path would be
organised. Bhog of the path would be held on September 22 and the jatha would return after visiting several other Sikh shrines on September 25.
Amritsar, September 18
Vichhoa said the jatha would reach Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, today and then proceed to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib where akhand path would be organised.
Bhog of the path would be held on September 22 and the jatha would return after visiting several other Sikh shrines on September 25.
PepsiCo row resolved
Sangrur, September 18
The Sangrur deputy commissioner, the SSP, Sangrur DSP, representatives of the PepsiCo management, workers’ union, truck operators’ union and respectables of the Channo area attended the meeting.
Secretary of the PepsiCo India Holding Workers Union (AITUC) Kishan Singh said it had been decided all 12 suspended employees of the factory would be reinstated, of which six would join duty while remaining six would mark their attendance at the gate of the factory.
Besides this the district administration would also probe the case of suspended employees in 15 days, he added.
In respect of one dismissed employee of the factory he said the administration, the truck operators union and others had assured he would be reinstated in two months.
However, PepsiCo management did not give its consent to this assurance, he added.
Kishan said as the PepsiCo management had suspended production in the factory several days ago, so the factory would start functioning again from tomorrow morning and the six reinstated employees would also join duty at that time.
Various farmers and workers unions would now organise a “victory rally” in front of the factory tomorrow.
Workers were agitating against the suspension of 12 employees and dismissal of one employee of the PepsiCo factory for one month by organising dharna and rallies at gate of factory at Channo, to get suspended and dismissed colleagues reinstated.
Punjab di Train set to chug in North
Chandigarh, September 18
The train will showcase some of North India’s most spectacular destinations, including Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Chandigarh, Dharamsala, Kurukshetra and Patiala.
The Indian Railways will provide the necessary support for the operation and maintenance of the train.
The management of on-board and off-board facilities will be done on a public-private-partnership (PPP) format by a management partner selected through a bidding process by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).
“The whole thing is in the preliminary planning stage. However, we are hopeful of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways for operations of the train before the end of this month,” said Geetika Kalha, secretary, Tourism, Punjab.
The Indian Railways will provide the state with coaches which will be furnished by the state. The Punjab government will be spending almost Rs 13 crore on the train.
The furnishing of the coaches will be done either at Kapurthala or Cochin. A part of the cost will also be met by the ministry of Tourism, government of India.
For the management and running of the train, PIDB would select a management partner who has some experience in managing 5-star hotels or luxury cruise liners. IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation is the project development advisor to PIDB for this project.
The dream train will have all that Punjabis love. Air-conditioned luxury coaches of 5-star plus category, restaurants, kitchen coaches, bar-cum-lounge, observation coach and a spa-cum-gym coach.
The train will run only 35 times in one year and can carry only 78 passengers on each trip. The cost of travelling too is not too much. The ticket will cost anything between $ 400 to $ 500 in the first year.
However, it will go on increasing with each year and the projected cost of the ticket in the 15th year of the train’s running is expected to touch about a $ 1,000.
According to a tentative layout planned for the train, the luxury coach for guests will have three suites each.
Lounge cars will house games room, beauty saloon, massage parlour, health club and general lounge area.
Also included will be a library full of books, CDs and DVDs, a computer centre with modern communications facilities, a curio shop and big lounge area furnished with a home theatre. Restaurant and bar will be housed in another coach.
Jalandhar, September 18 The academicians, who have formed the Punjab Forum for Social Justice, said today that though the Excise and Taxation Department had made the provision to hold the test in Punjabi medium as well, it had discriminated against rural students by not including the paper of general Punjabi in the test. Dr Manmohan Singh, former IAS officer and convener of the forum, said the department would hold the test in four papers, general English, general knowledge, mental ability and mathematics. But, it had not kept the general Punjabi paper in the test, he added. Member of the forum include former vice-chancellors S.P. Singh, J.S. Puar, K.S. Aulakh and Bhagat Singh and pro-vice-chancellor Prithipal Singh Kapoor.
Jalandhar, September 18
The academicians, who have formed the Punjab Forum for Social Justice, said today that though the Excise and Taxation Department had made the provision to hold the test in Punjabi medium as well, it had discriminated against rural students by not including the paper of general Punjabi in the test.
Dr Manmohan Singh, former IAS officer and convener of the forum, said the department would hold the test in four papers, general English, general knowledge, mental ability and mathematics.
But, it had not kept the general Punjabi paper in the test, he added. Member of the forum include former vice-chancellors S.P. Singh, J.S. Puar, K.S. Aulakh and Bhagat Singh and pro-vice-chancellor Prithipal Singh Kapoor.
Colleges sans regular principals fined
Amritsar, September 18
The defaulter colleges included Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, Hindu College, Amritsar, Hindu Kannya College, Dhaliwal, and Sikh National College, Qadian.
On March 25, the varsity syndicate had decided to slap the fine on these colleges if they failed to appoint regular principals by July 31.
This decision had been taken in the light of a The Tribune report on the appointment of junior-most professor, Prof Gurvinder Singh Samra, as vice-principal of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar.
Fate of Ayurveda students hangs in balance
Chandigarh, September 18
The Supreme Court, while granting an interim stay in the case yesterday following a petition by the CCIM, has fixed the next day of hearing for September 29.
Earlier, the CCIM had conducted an inspection of all Ayurvedic colleges of the
Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, had approached the High Court and alleged that the inspection team, which had come to the college, had asked for a bribe to give it the go-ahead for conducting admissions this year.
Dr Raj Kumar of the Jalandhar college had claimed that seven other institutions, which had been granted permission to admit students for this session, did not have better infrastructure than his college.
The High Court, while granting a stay in the case and allowing all 11 colleges to take part in the admission process, had formed a three-member committee to inspect all colleges and give its report by October 15.
With the apex court staying this action, the fate of students who had earlier taken admission in the four institutes, that have not been given the go-ahead by the CCIM, hangs in balance. Dayanand Ayurvedic College has admitted 14 students after the first round of counselling.
Parking in buildings
Chandigarh, September 18
Taking up a petition against the coming up of a building on Jalandhar’s Cantt Road, a Division Bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Surya Kant, observed the dichotomy was clear from two sets of affidavits filed before the court.
The Bench observed an affidavit filed by the state government said the areas within the corporation’s limits were regulated by Jalandhar Municipal Committee by-laws of 1997, while the affidavit by the chief town planner referred to another set of by-laws framed in 2007 for areas outside the limits. The case will now come up for hearing before the Bench on October 15.
The Bench verbally observed there was a need to make more stringent norms for parking spaces within the municipal limits for easing traffic congestion.
The Judges were of the view that past few years had witnessed an explosion in the number of vehicles.
The middle class with capacity to purchase vehicles was growing, so was the number of cars.
Even the salesmen were coming in cars. As such, there was a need to provide adequate parking space.
Referring to the case in hand, the Judges directed Punjab chief town planner to examine the plan for the building proposed to be constructed and report whether the parking space was adequate even as per the 2007 norms.
Earlier, during the hearing, Defence Colony Residents Welfare Association, through counsel Rohit Sud, contended there were at least two schools in vicinity of the proposed building, along with residences.
It was added that the parking space too was inadequate. On the other hand, Amit Singh, on behalf of the Jalandhar MC, contended the norms had been complied with. Rather, there was enough space to leave behind the vehicles.
It was added that the entire basement and area on the ground floor was earmarked as parking area, which was more than required.